National Security Commission of the Communist Party of China

Central National Security Commission
Zhōngyāng Guójiā'ānquán Wěiyuánhuì
The emblem of the Communist Party of China
Agency overview
Formed November 2013
Jurisdiction Communist Party of China
Headquarters Beijing
Ministers responsible
Parent agency CPC Central Committee
This article is part of a series on the
Politics of the
People's Republic of China

The Central National Security Commission (abbreviated CNSC; Chinese: 中央国家安全委员会; pinyin: Zhōngyāng Guójiā'ānquán Wěiyuánhuì) of the Communist Party of China (CPC) was established at the 3rd Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee in November 2013,[1] and was considered a "major regrouping of the top CCP power structure."[2]

The factors driving the establishment of the CNSC were security challenges faced by the Chinese Party-State, and the deficiencies of the preexisting system.

The CNSC aims to consolidate political leadership of all components of the security apparatus controlled by the Communist Party, including those headed formerly by former Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang. These components would be combined into a single entity under the direct command of the CPC General Secretary. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Qin Gang, the NSC aims to combat terrorism, separatism, and religious extremism.[3] It will also deal with national security strategy, crisis management, and links with foreign national security agencies.[2]

Analysts regarded the establishment of the NSC one of the most "concrete" and "eye-catching" outcomes of the Plenary Session, set to end the debate, which took place over a decade, on whether China should have a national security council.[4]


The initial conception of the CNSC came during the Jiang Zemin era in 1997, with a proposal by Wang Daohan, later the president of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits.[5] This was in part a response to the 1995-1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis. A lack of central coordination and inefficient decision-making and bureaucracy meant that the idea remained stagnant for over 20 years.

Xi Jinping later revived the idea as part of his reforms in the foreign policy and security sectors, as part of an attempt to overcome problems that have accumulated for many years.[6] The CNSC would thus fulfill Xi Jinping's ambitions for "Big power diplomacy with Chinese characteristics," rather than the quieter foreign policy agendas of previous administrations. Having a National Security Council assists in China's own "self-identification as a big power in world affairs." This also requires a more advanced diplomatic capability, a tasks in which the CNSC is supposed to assist in.[6]


The most common explanation for the creation of the CNSC relate to the personal and leadership style of Xi Jinping, and, in the eyes of commentators, his ambition to seize power.[7] These personal factors, however, coincide with China wielding a much greater level of national power. Xi wishes China to play a greater role in world affairs, and so a mechanism like the CNSC would allow it to plan and implement, from the center, "grand strategy" ideas and "big power diplomacy."[2]

Xi Jinping articulated a concept of "big security" in the first meeting of the CNSC on April 15, 2014, saying that China "should take an overall approach to national security, strengthen the confidence of the Chinese people in the path, theories and system of socialism with distinctive Chinese features, and ensure China’s durable peace and stability." These definitions contain meanings of both domestic security and foreign threats.[6]


  • Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party, President of the People's Republic, Chairman of the Central Military Commission[8]
Vice Chairmen
  • Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council, Politburo Standing Committee
  • Li Zhanshu, Chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, Politburo Standing Committee
General Office Chief


  1. Panda, Ankit (November 14, 2013). "What Will China's New National Security Council Do?". The Diplomat. Retrieved January 31, 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 Ji, You (2016-03-03). "China's National Security Commission: theory, evolution and operations". Journal of Contemporary China. 25 (98): 178–196. doi:10.1080/10670564.2015.1075717. ISSN 1067-0564.
  3. "China Hints at Domestic Role for National Security Commitee". Voice of America. November 13, 2013. Retrieved January 31, 2014.
  4. "CSIS" (PDF).
  5. "第五权力机构 国安会的诸多未解之谜_大陆频道_新浪网-北美". Retrieved 2016-03-11.
  6. 1 2 3 Hu, Weixing (2016-03-03). "Xi Jinping's 'Big Power Diplomacy' and China's Central National Security Commission (CNSC)". Journal of Contemporary China. 25 (98): 163–177. doi:10.1080/10670564.2015.1075716. ISSN 1067-0564.
  7. McLaughlin, Kathleen. "Chinese power play: Xi Jinping creates a national security council". Christian Science Monitor. ISSN 0882-7729. Retrieved 2016-03-11.
  8. "Xi Jinping to lead national security commission". China Daily. January 24, 2014. Retrieved January 31, 2014.
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